Now that I'm getting closer to the point where I will want to add landscape around the tracks I thought it worth practising a few techniques to make sure I know how they work. First up, static grass.
In theory static grass allows you to model large areas of grass quickly using short thread like particles to represent each blade of grass. You can just sprinkle static grass onto glue, but for the best results you need to make use of static electricity. In the same way that you can make the hairs on your arm stand on end using a balloon you've rubbed on your clothing, you can make the individual threads stand on end rather than lay flat in the glue.
Of course a balloon isn't necessarily very convenient for creating the static charge. While there are very expensive static grass applicators there is a cheaper alternative. Essentially you combine an electric fly swatter with a tea strainer! Apparently it's quite easy to do this yourself but I bought mine for £12 on eBay.
You simply clip the wire to the surface you want to add grass to, place the static grass in the tea strainer and then gently shake it over the surface. You have to get quite close to the surface to get the static field strong enough, but not so close that you bring the grounding wire and the strainer into contact, as this results in a flash of light and a bang as the circuit is completed and the large amount of electricity, usually used to kill a fly, is discharged!
From my simple tests it does appear to work quite well, although I found I needed a couple of applications to get a good covering, but on an actual model you would probably want to use a couple of different shades of green so this isn't an issue. The main problem at the moment is that the grass I have I bought when I thought I was going to be modelling in OO gauge, and it produces grass that stands between two and three millimetres tall, or in N scale between 12 and 18 inches. While this might be fine for tall unkempt weeds it certainly won't help if I want to model a garden lawn and certainly not a bowling green!